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Constraints on biogenetic reef formation during evolution of the South China Sea and exploration potential analysis

WEI Xi~(1,2), DENG Jin-fu~(1), XIE Wen-yan~(2), ZHU Yong-jun~(2), ZHAO Guo-chun~(1), LI Yu-xi~(3), CHEN Yi-han~(1)1.School of Earth Sciences and Resources, China University of Geosciences, Beijing 100083, China2.Liaohe Oilfield Subcompany, PetroChina, Panjin 124010, China3.Stratagem Research Center of Oil and Gas Resources, Ministry of Land and Resources, Beijing 100034, China  
The evolution of the South China Sea includes three stages which control the formation and distribution of biogenetic reefs.First, from the Paleocene to the early-Oligocene, lithosphere extension at the northern margin (including Nansha block) of Proto-South China Sea induced the formation of continental rift basins and local transgression.Biogenetic reefs were mainly distributed along the north continental shelf and slope of the Proto-South China Sea.Second, from late-Oligocene to mid-Miocene, oceanic spreading of the South China Sea caused the Nansha block to move to its present location.Along with seawater flooding in, the higher fault blocks formed early turned into shallows;mantle related magmatism caused by lithosphere extension formed submarine volcanic highlands, which created landform environments for biogenetic reef formation.In the areas distant from sediment provenance,the shallow,warm seawater environment, with its characteristics of sediment-free,light transparent,and having normal salinity,caused biogenetic reef blooming.Third, the unified South China Sea Basin formed after late-Miocene due to regional thermal cooling and subsidence.Biogenetic reefs shrink from lower parts to higher parts of shallows and regional cap rocks formed.The evolution of the South China Sea and the times of source rock, reservoir rock, and cap rock formation show that biogenetic reef reservoirs have good matching relationships to source and cap rocks, and are advantageous for oil and gas migration and reservoir storage.Biogenetic reef oil and gas reservoirs have been preserved in the South China Sea because little faulting followed after regional cap rocks formation during regional heat subsidence from the late-Miocene to the Holocene.This situation provides a great oil and gas exploration potential of the biogenetic reefs in the South China Sea.
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